Why China Terrifies Us


I wouldn't want to stand under that building.
You're displaying some of that past kingdom thinking. The future involves building in factories where units can be built efficiently, cheaply, and with high tolerances. Yes, these manufactured pieces will be assembled quickly, but don't forget they took significant effort to build before this assembly begins.

You may long for a pre-Model-T car because of the handcrafted beauty, but I doubt you can afford to commute in one. China is trying to build affordable housing for a massive number of people. That's can't be done in wood-fired brick with carved stone gargoyles.
Charles, this technology would increase the efficient urbanization that you so often celebrate. Yes? Imagine 220-story buildings by every light-rail stop in Seattle.
Google some of China's past 'triumphs' when it comes to this kind of fastercheaperbigger engineering they've been doing over there - it's not a pretty picture.

The biggest threat China poses, as it has for the entirety of the 20th century and beyond, is to its own people.
It's not really being built in 3 months, it's being assembled in three months.

@3 Why not? That is probably way too big for a city Seattle's size from an economic standpoint but why not turn the market loose by removing all height limits for certain areas?
If we treated workers like slaves, we could make stuff that fast and cheap too.

I wish them well, I hope they succeed, and I would welcome the world such innovation would bring.

But I wouldn't be the first (or even the 10,001st) person to visit the top of a 220-story tower built in the three months by the Chinese. Or to rent space anywhere near it.
@5 In previous posts Charles has argued for greater urban density. So I would think he'd love to see big, cheap buildings. Maybe just 40-story buildings? 20? Regardless, his post on this seems to contrary to his typical musings. I'm intrigued.
it'll be a hell of a walk to the top floor after the oil runs out.
Yup, and they also dig mines faster than anyone else, and have the highest fatality number of mining accidents on the planet --- any other bright comments today???
@8 Why must density be cheap ugly buildings?
@11 except in the abstract, density is ugly.
I wouldn't want to work in that building.
Was the 'middle kingdom' thing an intentional (albeit odd) joke? I mean, that is a valid translation of 'china'.
It's silly to fear a country because it can get one amazing project done. The Soviet Union put the first man in space, then went and collapsed just three decades later. The strength of a nation is to be found in the many little things it does for its people; the few big things it does to show off are just fluff on top.